Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.


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“I can’t get it.” Keith groaned, his body bending so far over his drafting table that weight pressed dangerously on Ikea Territory.

Dessie, the sulky room-mate, flicked a spent butt at a clay ashtray. Another miss. It only added to the dozens of other misses. For all practical purposes, her ashtray was the entire planet earth. She dug her tongue into the gap between her teeth, mumbling around the awkward twist of her tongue. “Of courf you can.”


Dessie spit free the food lucky enough not to get ground to digestible quality against those nicotine stained choppers. “Can’t. You can’t.”

Keith snapped back around and pretended to focus on the spread of notes on his desk. Lyrics, poems, stories and letters. The summary of a man’s desperation.

“You know why y’ can’t? Because you’re fucking lazy.” It sounded remotely like a compliment, coming from her. “You think once you rode off into the sunset with her that’s all it was gonna take for a happy life?”

Keith searched for a pencil. To stab. To write. Both actions were achingly similar in their goal.

Dessie continued, “Fuck, you little bitch, I even gotta work at my addiction– remind myself I always need it. Sometimes I get real better, you know? I can think straight and my eyes are wide open. Then you know what I gotta do? I gotta tell myself, the world is real great in full color surround sound .. but it also blows. You know why? I’m gonna ask you a lot of questions, you prick. So don’t interrupt me. When I see the world in that full spectrum, I know I ain’t ever going to fucking belong to it. I’m never going to enjoy some candle lit dinner. I don’t wanna ride on a motherfucking boat. I don’t want to do any of it. You know what that’s like, kid? Knowing that the world is fucking fantastic? Then you realize, fuck, I’m not even interested. I don’t wanna pet dolphins. I don’t wanna rock climb. I don’t want a job. This beautiful gorgeous world can just kiss my ass. So I dim it. I dim it down. I pop anything I’ve got to knock the color down, so I won’t be tempted by what I’m missing. What’s missing is inside me. The world is full of beauty and I’m not even fucking interested. What does that make me? Why are the most profound fucking things in this universe so boring? So I jack my brain. I scramble my insides. I make my body the adventure land. I make my veins a roller coaster and my lungs home to thick curls of dazzling violet smoke.”

He was silent, his pen bleeding pregnant drops of ink, the liquid blossoming and unfurling in impossibly intricate snowflakes.

Another cigarette received the communion of fire and she put it between her lips with the relish of a fanatic. She was a woman far from faith, but she thrived on ritual. Pills were the numbers on the clock, dropping down her throat as the short hand dispensed them upon the hour. Ironic, really. Even when man believed they had harnessed time, they still insisted on the final insult of calling the watchers of the hours ‘hands’.

Dessie pursed her lips and sucked so deeply that the cherry of her cigarette galloped towards the stained filter. “Course, this isn’t bout me. But maybe it is. If you were in a better mood, I wouldn’t be your room-mate. You’d have that air head in here trying to put fucking lisa frank stickers all over your pussy love letters.”

Keith lurched forward and twisted round, his hands curling, gripping and thickening with battle blood. “I want her! I want her more then anything in my whole life! And I fucking screw it up! I didn’t work. I brought her back. I brought her into my city. I saved her. She saved me! We did ride off into the sunset. We ran into the sunlight .. and .. and..”

“And you lost her.” Dessie murmured, her dark eyes rolling upward as streams of smoke poured from her nostrils.

He slammed his hands down on to the table and knocked the cup of pencils away. They clattered to the floor like hail. He remained there for many heartbeats, his body still, his muscles taunt. The only movement came from the paper beneath him, as it swelled and distorted beneath the fall of his tears. “I want her.” he whispered hoarsely.

“I wanted her my whole life. I wanted her even before she came to my city. I felt her out there, spinning off into space, waiting for me to have the strength to lasso her down. I thought it was enough. It wasn’t. I failed her. I failed her so terribly. I thought the strength of my love was enough. It was me that wasn’t enough. My pride and my fucking arrogance. And now ..”

Keith shoved the drafting board forward. It swung high and crashed with the typical result of any furniture made of particle board. Therefore: It broke into several pieces, all of which undoubtedly would only be fixed by shipping it in from Singapore. The paper did not follow, no. It floated down like disappointed angels, reaching upward, begging to be saved. Dessie watched from her position, her bony butt settled firmly on the arm of a ratty couch.

“And now she’s gone. She’s gone. I can’t even say those words and have them reach my heart. Everyone keeps asking. Everyone keeps asking if I’m okay, if I’m gonna make it, if I’m going to move on. But I can’t. I can’t move on without her, I can’t live without her! I have a purpose. I know it, Dessie. I know my fucking purpose. It’s to be that guy that never gives up. It’s to be that man that would face any shame or humiliation to get her back. I know I love her, why should I doubt that? Without her, my head is sick. My heart is sick. Maybe this is self preservation, I don’t know. But I’m going to find her. I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

Dessie expertly rolled the sodden filter over her lower lip to the far left corner of her mouth. “Whatever it takes? You sure you’re up for that, cowboy?”

Keith turned way from the calamity of art supplies at his feet and faced Dessie head on, his jaw strung as tight as street light stabilizers. “You don’t know me. You don’t know us. She’s somewhere in someone else’s city, and I’m going to find her. I’m going to either bring her back or come to her! I have never loved another woman this way. She moves me, she moves me to be better. She challenges me. She pushes me. For all the wrong I’ve done in my life, she still loves me. I don’t care that she’s not here right now. I don’t care about the fights. What I care about is finding my soulmate. I will go to the very heavens and push those ancient stars through the universe until they align for us. I want to look up at the sky and know that big guy up there couldn’t, even in his glory and infinite power, stop me from finding her. I will make this right.”

The cigarette tipped and its burden of ash floated towards the floor. Dessie was watching him carefully.

“You know it’s going to be hard.”

Keith reached for his coat and shrugged it on.

“She saved me when I was in the darkest place of my life. She came for me.”

The girl stretched out one leg on the couch, the rips in her hosiery widening. “This is different. You know what’s happened since then. The rules have changed.”

Keith pockets his wallet. “I know.”

Dessie cut her eyes towards the door. “You’re still going, aren’t you?”

He shoved his feet into his boots and laced them with military efficiency. “Yes.”


Keith stood and placed his hand on the knob of the door. “Because she, out of all the dreams that float up to God during the nighttime, she’s the only one that blinds His eyes with her radiance.”

“She’s a perfect dream. Because she is the only dream that can come true.”

One Response

  1. loved it

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